Reading is one of my passions. Whether on my way to work or at home, I usually have a book nearby to read a few pages when I feel like taking a break. The range of the books I’m reading is generally quite wide, although I prefer topics that have something to do with psychology, like how to build relationships, set up boundaries, etc.
I think I can recommend some of the – in my humble opinion – best reads here and introduce them to you. Clicking on the book covers will take you directly to the respective book’s entry on Amazon.de.
Gary Chapman: The Five Love Languages
I first got introduced to the concept of the Five Love Languages by my good friend James. It is quite easy to explain the core ideas in just 10 – 15 minutes and once you learned about them, your thinking will change forever. Suddenly, you understand why past relationships have failed and your love for your ex-spouse eventually died off. If you’re serious about a relationship and want to keep it healthy, there’s no way around this book!
In a nutshell, Gary Chapman explains that there are 5 different ways how to express and receive love. As every person has a primary way how they express love and this is not necessarily the same love language that their spouse wants to receive love in, couples might not feel loved although there’s a deep passion between the two partners. Once you’ve mastered the way of using the love language that matters the most to your partner, your relationships will flourish.
Anthony Robbins: Unlimited Power
Anthony Robbins is often seen as the guru of gurus. His book Unlimited Power doesn’t offer vague theories on how to motivate yourself, it presents challenging exercises that force you to get to know yourself better and learn about your weaknesses.
In the (in my opinion) most remarkable part of the book, he explains why many people are depressed or just feel like something is not entirely right: Every person creates an identity for themselves and live accordingly. The identity you create for yourself is a result of the many values that matter to you. Often, you prioritize them in a way that makes conflicts unavoidable, e.g. if your #1 value is independence and right after it, you put security (as you can’t be secure and independent at the same time – part of feeling secure is a job and therefore, you would depend on your employer, etc.). This is only one of many examples where Anthony Robbins explains you your own trains of thought and helps you to sort out such conflicts and turn into a happier person.
Sir Ken Robinson: Out of our Minds
Sir Ken Robinson is not only a fantastic speaker (as seen in this TED talk), he also writes interesting books. Granted, if you paid close attention to what he’s been saying in the linked talk, there’s not so much you’ll learn in this book as the key points are similar. However, he’s been tackling the interesting subject much more detailed and in my personal opinion, there’s always more that can be said about it, so it’s not a waste of time to read so much of what he has to say.
Apart from giving an historical background on why our focus lies on academic subjects and why the arts aren’t seen as equally important, he also gives examples on how to escape this situation. The topics in this book will always make up for great discussions, so again I can only recommend them.
Malcolm Gladwell: The Tipping Point
This is the first of Malcolm Gladwell’s books that will certainly change the way you’re looking at the world. The Tipping Point describes the act of something becoming a trend suddenly. Be it a weird pair of shoes from a company that has produced them for years and is about to face bankruptcy only to learn that the next week they’re “in” and sell millions, making a fortune for the company in the process, a certain word that is literally everywhere or something totally unrelated to the given examples.
“How does something become ‘trendy’?” is the big question that Malcolm Gladwell tries to answer. And he does so in his gripping narrative that will make it very hard for you not turning one page after another. It’s a trip through the psyche of human beings that will provide unique insights for people working in Marketing. In a way, it explains why Community Management can be such an effective marketing tool and why traditional ways aren’t always working. Last but not least, if you’ve always wondered why Paul Revere is such an interesting figure, you’ve just found another reason for reading The Tipping Point.
Chip & Dan Heath: Made to Stick
Chip & Dan Heath’s Made to Stick takes a deeper look at the middle section of Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point – what makes an idea become “sticky”? Why is it that we don’t have troubles remembering some awkward tales why we’re often struggeling to remember “important” things.
The Heath brothers break this question down and define a number of characteristics that makes an idea “sticky”. One of the coolest feature of this book are the “Clinic” sections in which the authors take some article from a newspaper and give it a complete make-over. In these examples, their theories come to live and you see them in action. If you weren’t convinced on their preachings before, you will be at that point.
Jim Stovall: The Ultimate Gift
No other book can capture the spirit of gratitude and the positive effects it has on your life as beautifully as Jim Stovall’s The Ultimate Gift. The book tells the story of young Jason Stevens, the great-nephew of the late Red Stevens. While all the other relatives of Red Stevens receive a fair share of the old man’s riches, Jason Stevens is promised something very special: The Ultimate Gift.
The catch? In order to receive the Ultimate Gift, Jason needs to pass a series of trials that stretch over the course of a full year. While the underlying motive of the late Red Stevens becomes clear rather fast, this doesn’t take away anything from the entertaining narrative. Jim Stovall manages to drag you into his story and see the story unfold through the eyes of Theodore J. Hamilton, life-long friend of Red Stevens and his lawyer.
Clay Shirky: Here Comes Everybody
If you ever had a doubt about the fundamental changes and effects the internet has on our lives, I recommend you take a deeper look at Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody. He argues that the internet made it easier than ever before for people to come together and work on group efforts. So in a way, he’s breaking down how Wikipedia works.
However, he doesn’t simply stop there. He illustrates how these principles can affect various businesses and how they can benefit or – in some cases – harm individuals. It quickly becomes clear why companies like Google succeeded; they understood the principles that visionaries like Shirky laid out and use them to their advantage. Which leads us to the following book…
Jeff Jarvis: What Would Google Do?
At one time or another, we have all asked ourselves how Google became such a dominant company. Jeff Jarvis asked himself the question the same question and shares his insights with all of us in his book What Would Google Do? He argues that Google is not just a company, it’s an entirely new way of thinking.
After he broke down what made Google as successful as it is today, he uses the knowledge and adapts it to various markets. This turns into a series of “what if” scenarios like “What would the Google bank look like?” Some companies are already trying to follow the rules Jarvis laid out and become the Google of their respective fields. So mind you, this book is not just all about Google; it’s about the entire “Web 2.0″. If you have doubts what your business model is lacking in order to make your company succeed in today’s fast-changing world, read this book; it most certainly provides the answer.
Malcolm Gladwell: Blink
Blink is a remarkable book. It gives you an example to think about and then explains what happens below the surface in detail.
Everyone knows the feeling when you make a decision in the blink of an eye, but still you’re absolutely convinced it’s the right call. Blink explains the underlying processes: How you sharpen your senses in a particular way over a certain amount of time, often unconsciously. Malcolm Gladwell’s narrative is both fascinating and entertaining, so I can only recommend this insightful book.
In case you’re wondering if I’m only reading books to learn stuff, I have to disappoint you. I do sometimes read novels for entertainment. I’ll create a new page in order to give these books the proper presentation, but for the time being, this must do: